2015 Fantasy Playoff Rankings

By Chet Gresham

Below are my fantasy playoff rankings for Daily Fantasy Football purposes. Go here for Walt’s FanDuel picks, which were posted Wednesday evening.

Updated 1/15

QB | RB | WR | TE | DEF

2015 Fantasy Football Week 19 Rankings: Quarterbacks

  1. Cam Newton, CAR — At this point, there’s no reason to choose anyone other than Cam Newton for the No. 1 spot. He’s on a mission, and when he’s not dialed back, he’s a fantasy monster. Seattle is, of course, a tough opponent and, obviously, I’d rather him play the Saints, but there are no easy opponents left in the playoffs. He had one of his worst games of the season in Seattle, that is until he brought the Panthers from behind to win. His 269 yards passing for one touchdown pass and two interceptions looks awful, but add in 30 yards rushing and a rushing score, and you have yourself a good fantasy game. Now he’s back at home, where he’s averaged a great 2.5 touchdown passes and .75 rushing touchdowns. He’ll be my No. 1 DFS quarterback pick this week.

  2. Carson Palmer, ARI — The Cardinals/Packers game is the highest over-under of the weekend with 50 points and the Cardinals are favored by 7, which puts their implied points total at 28.5. That’s one of the higher totals I’ve seen this season. These two met just a couple weeks ago, and it was a horrific dismantlement of the Packers, who were done in early, so Palmer only needed to complete 18 passes on his way to a mediocre fantasy day. This time around, I expect a somewhat closer game after we saw the Packers get back on track in D.C. last week, which should help Palmer stay in the game and need to pass more.

  3. Russell Wilson, SEA — Wilson is right up there, with the first four on this list all being good plays. We’ve seen what he’s capable of in the last half of this season and it won’t be -6 degrees in Charlotte. Wilson didn’t have a big game against Carolina the last time they met, but the Seahawks also hadn’t opened up the passing game like they have these last eight weeks. He did rush for 53 yards against the Panthers, and that right there makes him a top fantasy play this week, especially in a game that should be close and this meaningful. Wilson will leave it all on the field, and that means using his legs to move the ball.

  4. Tom Brady, NE — Brady should throw the ball plenty this week, as Kansas Cirt is tough against the run and the Patriots’ offense moves much better in no-huddle, using quick hitters to James White and whatever slot receiver is healthy that day. The good news is that Julian Edelman should be fully back, which will open up this offense from its sluggishness of late.

  5. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT — If by some chance Antonio Brown is able to play and Roethlisberger gets in some meaningful practice time before Sunday, we know what Roethlisberger can do, even against the great Denver defense, as he shredded them for 380 yards and three touchdowns just a few weeks ago. Of course, injuries are the big downfall for his fantasy prospects this week. Keep an eye on the injury news, and if things pick up, give Roethlisberger a go in DFS.

  6. Aaron Rodgers, GB — Rodgers turned things around last week, but was up against a sub-par defense in Washington. The turn around was good to see though and gives some hope that he won’t be sacked into oblivion this week. I could see moving him up above Roethlisberger if Brown is out.

  7. Peyton Manning, DEN — Manning gets the best matchup of the weekend, but it’s hard to envision him putting up top fantasy numbers, as he’s had trouble doing so all year. I do think he can move the ball on this pass defense though, and if he can get a couple short touchdown passes, he would bring value.

  8. Alex Smith, KC — Smith with a hurt Maclin is a tough sell this week against the Patriots, who have played strong defense all season.

2015 Fantasy Football Week 19 Rankings: Running Backs

  1. David Johnson, ARI — The Packers are easily the weakest run defense left in the playoffs, and David Johnson has been on fire, and an extra week of rest can’t hurt him. He’ll be the chalk play for most DFS sites, but he deserves to be.

  2. Marshawn Lynch, SEA — If Lynch does play, he should be used heavily, which is better than what we can expect from most of the running backs going this weekend.

  3. James White, NE — White is set up for plenty of work as the between-the-tackles running will most likely be thwarted by Kansas City’s tough run defense and Steven Jackson’s oldness. I like White for 5-7 receptions, with upside for more.

  4. Jonathan Stewart, CAR — Stewart, like Lynch, is coming off an injury, but should be in line for the bulk of the work, which has been 20-plus touches per game for him. We can’t expect a touchdown, but the usage is nice for his fantasy floor.

  5. Spencer Ware, KC — Ware has outplayed Charcandrick West by a wide margin, and I expect Ware to see the bulk of the work in New England. With all the injuries to the Patriots, there is a chance this game is close and Ware would benefit.

  6. C.J. Anderson, DEN — If the Steelers’ injury woes are as bad as they appear to be come game day, I think the Broncos can slow this game down and run the ball, even against Pittsburgh’s stout run defense.

  7. James Starks, GB — Starks looks quicker and healthier than Eddie Lacy right now, and Lacy fumbled last week. Both of them have had trouble with fumbles lately, but Lacy is the last one to do it, so maybe Starks takes the lead this week. But even if he doesn’t, I prefer the way he’s been running, and he should be in there in hurry-up mode.

  8. Eddie Lacy, GB
  9. Ronnie Hillman, DEN
  10. Charcandrick West, KC
  11. Fitzgerald Toussaint, PIT
  12. Steven Jackson, NE
  13. Christine Michael, SEA — Of course, if Lynch were to ne out again, Michael gets big bump.

  14. Jordan Todman, PIT
  15. Brandon Bolden, NE
  16. Andre Ellington, ARI
  17. Bryce Brown, SEA
  18. Cameron Artis-Payne, CAR
  19. DeAngelo Williams, PIT — I don’t see DeAngelo Williams playing in this game. If he does end up suiting up, I would not use him in any leagues, DFS or otherwise.

2015 Fantasy Football Week 19 Rankings: Wide Receivers

  1. Doug Baldwin, SEA — Baldwin in the slot will avoid Josh Norman and should be able to do some work against a depleted Panthers’ secondary.

  2. Julian Edelman, NE — Edelman has been out for over a month, so he’s still a bit of a question mark, but he should be a full-go, and I could easily see him as the go-to guy all game.

  3. Michael Floyd, ARI — Floyd was the main receiver for the Cardinals the last time these two met and should be once again. The one problem would be if Sam Shields is able to return this week. He’s Green Bay’s best cornerback and would see plenty of Floyd. The Cardinals do move their receivers all over the field, so I’m not too worried about Floyd getting shut down, but I might drop him a slot if Shields is a go.

  4. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI — Fitzgerald scored a touchdown against the Packers last time they met, but wasn’t heavily targeted. I’m hopeful that this time around the Packers at least show up, which would push Carson Palmer to throw more, and that would be good news for Fitz.

  5. Demaryius Thomas, DEN — Both Thomas and Sanders had big games against the Steelers last time around, but Brock Osweiler was the quarterback for that matchup. Peyton Manning gets the start this time around and doesn’t have the arm Osweiler has, but does make up for it with pre-snap savvy and usually more accuracy. The matchup is great, so I think both Thomas and Sanders have good upside here, but Manning probably isn’t going to give them both big games, plus he has targeted Sanders more this season.

  6. Martavis Bryant, PIT — If Brown is out, Bryant should see plenty of targets. If I knew Roethlisberger could make all the throws, I’d have Bryant much higher than this, but as it is, he’s riskier, but still has good upside with his big-play ability.

  7. Emmanuel Sanders, DEN — Sanders has been better after the catch than Thomas and just looks more poised for a long gainer whenever he touches the ball. Of course, Sanders’ll need to make that happen as Thomas will see more targets. Either way, Sanders gets a nice matchup here.

  8. John Brown, ARI — As you can tell, I like the Cardinals’ offense. Somebody will have a down game, but even a down game in this offense can be decent. Brown has taken a bit of a back seat since Michael Floyd has come on, but John Brown’s ability is evident and a touchdown is a real possibility this week.

  9. Ted Ginn, CAR — Ginn remains boom or bust, but he has been boom for much of the season. He’s strictly a “guaranteed prize pool” play for me in DFS against a tough Seattle pass defense, but Cam Newton can get him the ball deep and make him worth a fantasy pick with just one play.

  10. James Jones, GB — Jones saw a team-high 11 targets the last time these two met, but only caught five for 46 yards. He should have the best matchup this week, out of Green Bay’s receivers, so I expect him to see a good amount of targets again.

  11. Markus Wheaton, PIT — With Antonio Brown iffy to play due to a brain injury, I like Wheaton in the slot, especially with Roethlisberger not at 100 percent. Wheaton could absorb plenty of short to intermediate targets in this one, but he’ll have a tough matchup with whoever covers him.

  12. Randall Cobb, GB — Cobb will probably have plenty of Patrick Peterson on him in this game, which is worrisome. Cobb’s work as a running back does help his bottom line though.

  13. Albert Wilson, KC — If Maclin is out and even if he isn’t, Wilson and Conley make for cheap DFS plays. I would expect Maclin to be used as a decoy if he does go, which could open things up for Wilson and when he’s on the field, Conley.

  14. Chris Conley, KC — The one game in which Maclin was out, Conley caught six passes for 63 yards and a touchdown. It was against the Steelers, but he would get work.

  15. Tyler Lockett, SEA — Lockett has upside to spare and has come on strong in the second half. Unfortunately, he will find himself covered by Josh Norman, at least for some of this game, which is scary.

  16. Brandon LaFell, NE
  17. Danny Amendola, NE
  18. Devin Funchess, CAR
  19. Jermaine Kearse, SEA
  20. Jared Abbrederis, GB
  21. Philly Brown, CAR
  22. Jerricho Cotchery, CAR
  23. Darrius Heyward-Bey, PIT
  24. Jeremy Maclin, KC
  25. Antonio Brown, PIT — Brown still has some chance to play, and you know what to do if he does.

2015 Fantasy Football Week 19 Rankings: Tight Ends

  1. Rob Gronkowski, NE — Gronk is tough not to have at No. 1 in the playoffs, but he did just have a painkiller shot into his knee and is looking like he won’t be 100 percent. I’m still putting him as No. 1 because he’s just that good, but it is much closer than it could be.

  2. Greg Olsen, CAR — Olsen had a nice game against Seattle last time and is set up again to have the best matchups on paper. For his price, I’ll be taking Olsen over Gronkowski in DFS, especially with Gronk’s knee not 100 percent.

  3. Travis Kelce, KC — Kelce will most likely get the Belichick “take out their best player” treatment, since Jeremy Maclin is hurting. Kelce went off on the Texans last week, and even with extra help against him, he has the ability to put up good numbers.

  4. Heath Miller, PIT — Miller should see a decent amount of work this week, especially if Roethlisberger has trouble with the deep ball. The Broncos have been susceptible to tight ends at times this season, and if Antonio Brown is out, Miller gets a bump.

  5. Richard Rodgers, GB — Rodgers is a boom-or-bust option, but mostly bust against the Cardinals, who Football Outsiders ranks seventh against tight ends.

  6. Owen Daniels, DEN
  7. Cooper Helfet, SEA
  8. Chase Coffman, SEA
  9. Jermaine Gresham, ARI
  10. Vernon Davis, DEN
  11. Virgil Green, DEN

2015 Fantasy Football Week 19 Rankings: Defenses

  1. Denver Broncos If there’s no Antonio Brown, and Ben Roethlisberger is as hurt as it appears, the Broncos should have no trouble at home against this depleted offense.

  2. Arizona Cardinals The last time these two met it was an atrocity. I expect a bit more fight from the Packers this time around, but I still think they are over-matched.

  3. New England Patriots No Jeremy Maclin could be a big blow for Kansas City this week. If you give Belichick a one-dimensional opponent, it’s over.

  4. Pittsburgh Steelers Manning threw at least one interception and had five multiple interception games through his first 10 starts before injuring his foot. Has the rest helped him? Very possible, but the Steelers will most likely need to put up some points from their defense, and they’ll be taking chances against Manning’s weak arm.

  5. Carolina Panthers Carolina has a great defense, but this matchup is looking like it will get offensive and the Panthers will need to score a defensive touchdown or two, to be worth their price in DFS.

  6. Seattle Seahawks What I said above, but with this defense. Yes, this one, the Seahawks, I think they’re called.

  7. Kansas City Chiefs The Patriots’ offensive line is weak, but Julian Edelman’s return should help Brady beat the blitz.

  8. Green Bay Packers Sam Shields could return, which would help this pass defense immensely. But give Bruce Arians two weeks to game plan, and I think the Packers will have to leave Arizona empty handed.

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